Eyesore of the Month

June 2004

 

         Another monumental tech box celebrating the victory of the machine over the human spirit: the new Seattle public library by Rem Koolhaas. The architect's claim-to-fame is complete abject surrender to the zeitgeist, in this case the (erroneous) belief that mankind is marching off into an evermore deliriously wonderful high tech future -- when, actually, the opposite is about to happen. These houses of tech worship will be as mystifying to future generations as the pyramids of Teotihuacan.

 

 

The gigantic signage is necessary because otherwise library patrons might think they had mistakenly stumbled into the receiving department of a US Army ordnance installation or the basement of a commercial laundry.

 

      Koolhaas has named this top floor salon "the living room," an interesing confusion of typology. Guess what? This is not your home. This is a place of public assembly. But guess what also? There's only enough furniture for five people to sit down. It's not a reading room (no chairs and tables). It's not a lecture room (slanted atrium ceiling can't be darkened.) What the fuck is it?

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Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 James Howard Kunstler